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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Many bowl games get a bad rap for being boring contests between two mid-level teams. However, thanks to the tie-in at the Russell Athletic Bowl, that is hardly the case. Add to this already exciting game a beautiful modernized facility, a great location for families and individuals alike, and a fantastic time of year to host it in the south, and you have yourself a recipe for what many would call a must-see game. However, catching a bowl game at Camping World Stadium is a three-times a year opportunity. The Russell Athletic Bowl delivers the punch needed to help make your choice of those three bowls an easy one.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Finding food at Camping World Stadium is easy. For those in the suite levels, the food options are incredibly plentiful. The main suite in the west side of the stadium that was renovated features a full-service bar and buffet. Outside of that suite are several bars, as well, with comfortable tables, chairs, and couches outside.
On the main concourse, the north end zone features a taco stand, as well as some other food options. Arepas are available all over the stadium for fans to get a taste of Florida.
For the majority of food vendors, a quality hot dog will cost you $4.50, while a chef's choice game day hot dog costs $7. Nachos are $5, popcorn is $4.50, peanuts run $4.75, and a large pretzel costs $4.
If you're looking for a larger selection for nacho fans, the Rio Grande Pork Nachos cost $10 and include shredded lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes, and can also have chicken added for no charge. A rice bowl will run just $10, with pork or chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes.
A cheeseburger and fries costs $12, as does chicken fingers with fries. A spicy buffalo chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese and fries also runs $12. A side of fries costs $4.50.
For beverages, a regular beer (Bud Light or Budweiser) costs $8, a large beer runs $11, and an import beer (Stella Artois) costs $11.
Bottled water runs $5, while a bottled soda will cost you $5.50.
The atmosphere at the Russell Athletic Bowl is electric. Being a game between two power conference foes with great records, you are bound to get a solid matchup that excites even the most modest of fans.
The pre-game pageantry of the band performances, the exciting game action, and the feel of a bowl-game matchup make this an exciting game to be a part of.
Fans nonetheless can get a taste of the pageantry of bowl games. There is also plenty of beautiful scenery, with downtown Orlando just to the east, and lakes to the north and south of the stadium.
The only downside is one half of the upper deck being closed off to fans and remaining empty all game.
What can you say about downtown Orlando? Camping World Stadium is literally less than half a mile from downtown, right on Church Street, the hub of Orlando's rebirth as a foodie and entertainment destination. The City of Orlando has become a sports-thirsty destination over the last few years, with the explosion in popularity of Orlando City and a renewed interest in the Orlando Magic, the City Beautiful loves sports. The immediate area around Camping World Stadium is both suburbs to the west and downtown city center on the east. There are tons of hotels nearby, and since the stadium sits near I-4, getting to other resorts and hotels in the greater Orlando area is not hard to do, either. It can't get much better than this.
Because half of the upper bowl is closed off, the crowd size is naturally limited for the Russell Athletic Bowl. However, being a bowl game, the fans are already going to be energized without much provocation. The crowd still explodes with cheers, and the event is one of the most family-friendly games around. With the teams being from power conferences, the fan bases are likely to travel very well, leading to a packed crowd of over 45,000 regardless, screaming with fervor for their favorite teams on the field. The electricity that resonates through the stands makes this a game that fans look forward to going to. The tailgating pre-game is also widespread, with parking areas several blocks away playing host to big parties all the way up to kickoff.
The stadium sits just a stone's throw from I-4 and literally off of the 408 highway. Getting there is not difficult either from the local roads, as most are multi-lane and signage is well-placed for parking areas.
Parking on-site is plentiful and easy to find. For those without a parking pass, you can also find parking in the various nearby business parking lots and front yards that sell parking. Public transport is also available in the area, making getting to Camping World Stadium an easy process.
Tickets for the Russell Athletic Bowl are likely to go quickly, with the game selling most premier tickets fast after the teams are announced. You also may pay a bit more for this game both at face value and on the secondary market, due to the quality of the teams participating. Getting the experience of a college bowl game is always enjoyable for sports fans in general, and getting to watch one in Florida in the winter makes it even better. Orlando is blessed with great weather, never too cold or too hot in December, meaning you will be comfortable no matter where you are from.
One of the cooler things the game also offers is a pre-game skydiving performance by military jumpers who parachute into the game with the flags of each school.
The pre-game and halftime performances features both of the schools' bands, adding to the college pageantry fans know and love.
There is also a pre-game fan fest that includes a pre-game concert, photo opportunities with mascots, band performances, VIP tents, and interactive displays related to the Russell Athletic Bowl that includes the latest athletic wear technology from Russell Athletic.
Finally, the Russell Athletic Bowl also features the post-game trophy presentation that championship events are known for, completing the championship feel for the event for fans in the stands.
The Russell Athletic Bowl is one of three bowl games in Orlando, and while it may not be as inexpensive as the Cure Bowl, it is no less worthy of your attendance. The marquee matchup makes for a great game product on the field. The stadium is much more enjoyable since its renovation, and that means you will feel a lot more comfortable in your seats, as well.
Member Review by collegiatestdms on Feb 09, 2012
The Russell Athletic Bowl is played in the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, which also hosts the Capital One Bowl. The Russell Athletic Bowl is a matchup between a Big East team (or Notre Dame) and an ACC team.
The stadium itself was built in 1936, with the last seating addition being added in 1989 to bring official capacity to 65,438. However, they often add temporary bleachers in the north end zone so game attendance figures can be over 70,000 fans.
The stadium is scheduled to undergo a $175 million renovation, but those plans have been delayed due to funding issues with the City of Orlando. The renovation delay is a real shame because the stadium has never been renovated and upgrades are sorely needed.
Member Review by Scott Salomon on Jan 15, 2014
The bowl game currently known as the Russell Athletic Bowl was previously held in Miami. Since 2001, the game has been played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. It has had many names over the years, but is a good destination for fans and families in late December.
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